"Literally a rollercoaster of a ride at times" - our verdict on Wildfire Road at the Playhouse Sheffield

WE’RE ALL going to hell in a handcart — or jet plane in this case — as the climate catastrophe beckons, so what hope is there for the future?

That’s the theme explored in Eve Leigh’s taut and timely new play which centres on a unique survival plan as the planet burns.

In a neat twist, a mysterious, other-wordly hijacker chooses the BA flight to Tokyo for a crash landing in deepest Siberia to save the lives of those on board and offer new beginnings as wildfires rage.

It’s literally a rollercoaster of a ride at times.

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A honeymooning pilot and her partner, a middle management sci-fi geek who may be on the run for stealing cash and a couple of singles seeking love and adventure are all thrown together with the flight crew.

In smart, sharp, slick and funny scenes, the passengers react hilariously, never sure what is really happening or whether it’s just a dream from an in-flight snooze.

Come Fly With Me — of course — blares out, cleverly choreographed dance routines and punchy, witty dialogue capture responses to the nightmare scenario.

Director Laura Keefe never lets the pace drop for a second, while Zoe Hurwitz’s set inventively recreates the inside of a jet, plus an ingenious tiny replica of the plane providing laughs.

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Lighting designer Amy Mae and sound designer Benjamin Grant add their skills in a well-crafted Sheffield Theatres production.

The cast are all superb, taking turns to play the hijacker, using a mask and voiceover.


Siubhan Harrison, deftly holds it all together as Rina, the flight attendant, Raj Bajaj, cleverly switches between nerdy passenger Rohan and co-pilot Bryn, Phoebe Naughton as Mariella and Mark Weinman as Dave joyfully play off each other as the two singletons, while Robyn Sinclair and Zoe West both excel as the newlyweds.

An Airplane comedy disaster movie, but with a seriously prescient message, the predominantly young audience certainly found this production a hot ticket.

Wildfire Road is at the Playhouse Sheffield until Saturday, March 18.


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